A Colorado boy is facing a potential year of sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing after putting what he thought was a balloon - but turned out to be a discarded, used condom - that he found on the school playground into his mouth, KTTV (Los Angeles) is reporting.
The incident happened last Tuesday, but is only now gaining attention in the national media.
The unnamed 8-year-old boy was playing on the school playground at his elementary school in Bennett, Colorado when he found a used, discarded condom on the ground. Thinking it was a balloon, the boy put it into his mouth and tried to blow it up. A teacher realized what was happening and made the boy go inside to wash his hands, mouth, and face. Not thinking, she threw the condom away.
Because the condom is not available for testing, that means the boy himself will face a litany of STD tests, according to his mother, who declined to be identified.
"He's at risk for HIV, Hepatitis C, Herpes, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia. When she took the 'balloon' out of his mouth, it was a used condom."Speaking to KMGH (Denver), the boy's mother said that a teacher did call her to tell her about the incident. Because the condom was thrown away, and because some STD's take a year or more to emerge, the boy will have to be tested over the course of a year.
And if he's found to have picked up an STD from the discarded condom, he could be looking at a lifetime of treatment.
"That would be a lifelong [process], millions of dollars in medical bills. I mean this is just an unbelievable tragedy."The boy's mother puts the blame for her son finding a discarded condom squarely on the shoulders of the school district. And as for who is going to pay for his STD testing and, if necessary, treatment, Bennett School District Superintendent Dennis Veal didn't have a clear answer.
"I guess I'd leave that up to the liability insurance as far as what coverage we have."In fact, the boy's mother has already put in a claim with the Colorado School Districts Self Insurance Pool over the condom incident. Her claim was denied.
"They will not pay for it because it's taxpayers money and I feel like I'm a taxpayer. So, I mean, this is my son and they failed to protect him."Health officials have told the Colorado boy's mother that the health risks to the boy are minimal, considering the discarded condom had been left outside for a period of time.
[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock/Dave Pot]